Warlock - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

309 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 309
Hads: 2,590
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 12.66%
Wants: 111
Gots: 718 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 09-19-2013

Imperial stout brewed with pumpkins Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own and also to counterpoint our Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this Imperial Stout into a goblet.

Dark and mysterious, the Blackwater Series is serious about high gravity. Reanimate your senses with Warlock’s huge roasted malt character, moderate carbonation and spicy pumpkin pie aroma.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 309 | Hads: 2,590
Photo of kkleu357
3.76/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thin black pour with a small head. Spicy cinnamon aroma. Sweet caramel toffee aroma. Slight candy corn smell. Definitely better better than Pumking. Tastes sort of like a candy corn dipped in chocolate. Minor corn taste. (220 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Bottle: Poured a black color stout with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of cinnamon is quite powerful and hides every other flavours. Taste is also dominated by loads of cinnamon and other spices leaving little spices to roasted malt and/or black chocolate notes or even pumpkins. Body is below average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I get the concept of this beer but this just lack overall balances. (457 characters)

Photo of T-34-85
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%

Amazingly true to the description on the bottle, this stout has a big punch of pumpkin pie spice. I definitely appreciated the flavors and the overall effect, but ultimately, it's not my cup of tea. The issue with the pumpkin spice flavors, for me, is that they seem to take away from the other elements of the stout.

For those who enjoy spiced beers, like christmas ales, and other pumpkin flavored beers, I think this will be right up your alley. (449 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle served fairly cold into a pint glass. Purchased for over $9 CDN from the LCBO.

Appearance - very dark brown nearly black oily beer is poured out. Small half finger of off white head is poured and slowly diminishes into mere wisps of foam.

Smell - damn this smells a lot like pumking. Huge buttery graham cracker crust, some pumpkin spices and of course a little bit of pumpkin itself. Huge nose.

Taste - graham cracker crust, pumpkin and plenty of spices, then transitioning into a rather bitter concoction with some trace coffee, a hefty dose of licorice and some nice hop bite. A bit boozy throughout.

Mouthfeel - smooth slick oily feel, moderate carbonation but blends seamlessly with the feel. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall - a wonderful beer whatever you want to characterize this as whether it's a pumpkin beer, a pumpkin stout and American imperial stout it doesn't matter. Just a great delicious beer all around. Within two sips I realized this is one of my favourite 10 beers ever. Just great stuff. (1,030 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This "Blackwater Series" offering looks watery alright but it's far from black. Warlock pours a completely flat, listless, and transparent brown tone, without any bubbles or highlighting. That this can't sustain even a thin trim of foam is of some concern, but not as much of one as the fact that I can see my finger on the other side of this so-called 'Imperial Stout'.

Eyes shut, I can't tell Warlock from Pumking (and I have tried them side by side). The spicy pumpkin pie aromas are identical and there's no olfactory evidence of the addition of roasted malt. The idea of adding a rich, chocolatey dimension to that beer would make what is already outstanding truly sublime. But alas, this doesn't smell different at all...

The way I see it there's two preconditions for "Imperial" stouts: high alcohol percentage and big, rich, dense maltiness. Warlock just barely meets those criteria. At 8.6% it may be no lightweight on paper but it's not exactly a giant on the palate; the malts are bone-thin. Imperial Stouts should make you want to head-bang - not tap your feet. And this one is a muted toe-tapper.

The egg white brushed pie crust and pantry spice flavours are superb as ever - and maintain their 'old lady perfume' strength throughout - but those, like me, excited for some kind of coffee or cocoa accompaniment will be let down. Despite its billing this one has a soft vanilla- and cinnamon-influenced heart and not a trace of tar, smoke, richness, or roast.

It seems to me that in creating Warlock Southern Tier did nothing but add a spot of black malt for colour to their Pumking recipe. I may be wrong, but tell that to my senses. I love Pumking so I won't sit here and tell you that the nearly identical Warlock is anything other than delicious, but I demand more from a beer labeled an "imperial stout". Overall, this was a huge disappointment. (1,870 characters)

Photo of beergoot
4.24/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle label data: none.

The pour revealed a deep, dark brown body with a lasting, foamy head. The aroma exudes rich smells of roasted pumpkin, dark grained bread, and allspice and nutmeg; pumpkin bread and pie crust. The taste reinforces the aroma although more low-key; additions of cocoa powder and a noticeable alcohol warmth percolating beneath it all; somewhat bitter. Rich, smooth feel; medium-heavy body.

An exquisite melding of stout and pumpkin ales. Dark and seductive with rich, robust flavors rolled into one delicious package. A prime example of what depth and complexity really mean regarding taste and feel. A must try... (639 characters)

Photo of MisterE
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Incredible blend of aroma and flavors, but overall sweet and spicy without obvious over-presence of pumpkin. There's no other beer I've tried that tastes quite like this one, and I won't hesitate to try it again. (212 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.49/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 11/9/2014 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large off- white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains pumpkin, gingerbread, roasted malts and some chocolate.

T: The taste starts out very bready with a buttery biscuit flavor that is quickly followed by some sweet flavors of pumpkin, ginger and other spices. The roasted malt character is hearty and creates some balance. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Flavorful, slightly filling, goes down ok, strong kick, decent representation of style, I know that it’s a well-made beer but I just don’t like the flavor of it. (814 characters)

Photo of OhioLimoncello
3.45/5  rDev -12.7%

Heavily spiced Imperial Stout with a strong gingerbread and pumpkin spice aroma. Southern Tier recommends drinking in a goblet at 42 degrees, and if you follow the advice, the experience becomes even better, with the intensity of the gingerbread and pumpkin turned up a notch.
Pair with something sweet, like a big slice of red velvet cake, or a chewy brownie. (361 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; served slightly chilled. As a huge Pumking fan, I have been looking forward to getting my grubby mitts on a bottle of this for nearly a year, now.

Pours an opaque, blackish-brown colour with some deep amber highlights. Seated atop is one finger of frothy, light tan-coloured foam that recedes steadily over the next few minutes or so. A thin, bubbly film and collar remain behind afterward, with little in the way of lace. Incredible aroma on this one - lots of gingerbread, graham cracker and pastry crust sweetness, with bready malts, molasses, pumpkin and accompanying spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Me likey.

Certainly not bad - and fans of Pumking should be satisfied with this one, assuming they are looking for something similar. Molasses and buttery pie crust come through initially, followed by a slight hint of dark fruit and dark chocolate. The tail end of the profile is where the spices come out play - lots of gingerbread and nutmeg, with additional notes of vanilla, cinnamon and allspice. Finishes with a mixture of nutmeg/vanilla spice and sweet, gingerbread malt notes. For an imperial stout, the flavour profile is lacking in 'roasty' flavours. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation that gives this one a stronger bite/crisper mouthfeel than would be typical of a strong dessert beer. I could drink a bomber of this (and probably will over the next hour or so), but this isn't the sort of beer I'd want more than one glass of per night.

Final Grade: 4.02, a solid A-. Southern Tier's Warlock makes for a pretty tasty dessert beer, but I must admit that I'm a little disappointed - this is very Pumking-esque, but the 'stout' aspect of the beer is a little lacking. Any semblance of chocolate, coffee, roastiness or anything else you'd expect from an imperial stout is too subtle to come to the fore; simply buried underneath a dump truck load's-worth of pumpkin pie spice. This is not a bad beer, but it's not as good as Pumking and there is still plenty of room for improvement. Worth a shot I suppose, but big stout fans will be left wanting. (2,122 characters)

Photo of Jadjunk
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

"Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own & also to counterpoint our Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this imperial stout into a goblet." Brewed in the style of an American Stout with Pumpkins added. Available as a fall seasonal release in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. Enjoyed alongside a 2013 bottle for a vertical comparison.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a Southern Tier tulip glass. Served above 57º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, fizzy mocha cream head over a deep brown body with burgundy highlights. Retention is good, lacing is light and patchy. 4

(Smell) Aromas of toasted cinnamon bread, caramelized pumpkin, brown sugar, a touch of toasted grain and pie crust. Very little to no roast, for a clean and light aroma. Strikingly similar to Pumking based on the complexity and sweetness of malt character alone. Potency is medium. 4

(Taste) The flavor is somewhat more stout-like, with a touch of cold roasted malt, toasted graham cracker crust, cinnamon, vanilla and gingerbread, a pinch of baker's chocolate and a meaty pumpkin backbone. Very flavorful and easy drinking, like its sister beer, Pumking. 4

(Mouthfeel) Slick, oily and mildly chewy. Carbonation generates a subtle frothiness for a soft airy mouthfeel. The body is light/medium for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is equally bitter and sweet. Alcohol presence is light, there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) Very enjoyable although fairly light as a stout, comes very close to Pumking in my opinion, perhaps a bit too close to distinguish itself apart from Pumking. Nonetheless, it's a fantastic beer for the season. 4

Vertical Reviews:

2013 (1 Year Aged): Pours a frothy creamy head of a cinnamon cream color and a slightly darker body, retains just as well. The aroma consists of slightly less pumpkin aroma, but enhanced cinnamon, ginger and toasted bread malts and more vanilla, similar to the aroma of the fresh batch. The flavor is starkly different, with bolder chocolate, vanilla bean and spicy licorice joining a milder pumpkin and toasted caramel pie background. Texture is slightly more viscous and chewy, carbonation crisper, no notable off characters in this batch. Neither superior nor inferior to the fresh batch, this vintage happens to have a little more "stout" character with less spice and pumpkin than the fresh batch, distancing it perhaps the most from Pumking.

Recommended Vintage: Fresh-1 Year Aged

Southern Tier Brewing Company's
3.98/5.00 (2,538 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
4.02/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2013

Pours dark black with a good light tan head that retains nicely. Smell has aromas of pumpkin chocolate and a large sweet ginger bread and malt aroma. Taste is much less sweet then the smell with similar flavors of pumpkin,chocolate, nutmeg ginger bread and a slight roasted char bitterness in the finish. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, semi bittersweet, nicely balanced. (380 characters)

Photo of HopBomb515
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cola like brown that isn't quite black and produces a thin beige head and not much lacing. Pumpkin pie aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin, vanilla and graham cracker. Underneath Warlock brings roasted melt aromas of smoke, chocolate and coffee. The taste delivers bringing the pumpkin pie flavor, spices, burnt graham cracker, chocolate and coffee. A wonderful array of flavors. A bit thin on mouthfeel being on the lower end of medium. Opens creamy and finishes dry. This is a fantastic beer that brings roasted flavors to the familiar Pumking profile. (579 characters)

Photo of BigDaddyfromtheNati
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Great stout. Lots of complexity and great taste. Deep roast pumpkin, cinnamon, and gingerbread. It will kick your butt if you drink more than one. (151 characters)

Photo of MaximalC
3.62/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours seal brown with nearly a finger’s worth of sudsy, khaki froth that soon recedes. Simple but pleasant aroma features pumpkin pie and a hint of grassy hops.

The taste features pumpkin and industrial solvent up front with a barnyard haze in the background. I’ve had this on tap as well, and don’t recall a similar sensation, but maybe this just needs to warm up some... Some grassy hops and burnt malt are in there as well, fighting with the pumpkin and alcohol flavors. Upon further reflection, allspice may be the corrupting element that gives the skewed/conflicted character to the other elements. The semi-creamy carbonation is a nice touch, however the body is a little thin for an imperial stout.

Overall, this is an interesting concept that doesn’t quite come off in execution as good as it sounds on paper. There are too many peculiar, distracting flavors that keep it from gaining traction as a cohesive drinking experience. It’s not bad, and I’m glad to have tried it, but it wasn’t as good as I remember on tap. (1,048 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a decent and slightly brown creamy head that dissipates very quickly. The beer itself is a very dark brown that borders on black. The smell has strong roasted pumpkin notes and spices as well as more roasted and chocolate notes on the side. The spice is much more pronounced than Pumking. The spices tend to be more of a roasted cinnamon with vanilla. The pumpkin is pretty sweet. The chocolate and roasted malts aren't very pronounced but are detectable when it warms up a bit. The taste is a bit different. Essentially, the pumpkin and vanilla notes are stronger with a side of the spice and those flavors mix well the chocolate and roasted malt notes. The taste is reminiscent of a chocolate carrot cake. The mouthfeel is full bodied but surprisingly smooth compare to most other imperial stouts. The carbonation is medium and adds a little texture to the beer. Overall, this is a surprisingly good beer. Personally, I think this beer is what Pumking should have been and a much better choice. I'll be getting this one again next year for sure. (1,062 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.46/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bomber into a snifter. 2014 bottle.

This beer looks great in a snifter. Light, fluffy, oatmeal-colored head of a finger and a half over a pitch-black body that pours lighter and less viscous than I thought it would. Carbonation is visible and continuous. 4.5

Pumking and Warlock smell very similar. Pumpkin is strong, thick and slightly sweet, but it's also spiced and kind of perfume-like. Just like with Pumking, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I guess it seems kind of artificial and beyond what pumpkin smells like. I don't detect any stout like qualities on the nose. 3.5

This tastes a lot like Pumking too... and a lot like what I was experiencing on the nose. It's the same potent, yet seemingly unreal, thick, robust, creamy, vanilla and spice-tinged pumpkin. And the perfume-like quality remains. There is some redemption on the finish though, as a dark roast flavor and dark chocolate give this beer a good flavor that I wish was more apparent throughout. 3.25

The beer has enough of a creamy quality to be quite drinkable, but the perfume-like quality runs into bitter hops which run into some solvent feel, which are all disagreeable to me in this combination. Just as with the taste, the stout qualities are enjoyable and redeem this beer slightly. 3.5

It's funny they say to drink this at 42 degrees, because it's a million times better warm when the stout shows up. The perfume takes a back seat and this becomes more enjoyable. As things stand, this beer was okay but almost a workout to drink. (1,530 characters)

Photo of Digimaika2
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

(3.75) A: Dark reddish brown with thin and wispy head that vanishes promptly.

(4.25) S: Gingerbread, pumpkin, nutmeg, wood chips, caramel, and faint cinnamon. As a big fan of gingerbread and fall/winter spices, I am really enjoying this aroma – also has a unique underlying root beer like aroma.

(3.75) T: Identical to aroma with a ton of gingerbread, spices, toffee, and hints of dark fruits. This is understandably sweet tasting with a load of all sorts of pie-like spices.

(3.25) M: Medium bodied with quite a low carbonation that could use a boost. Texture is soft and a bit creamy.

(3.75) D: This was tasty and the aroma was outstanding, however the bold sweet flavour is such that half a bomber bottle would be enough for me. Very unique and something I'm glad I tried. (782 characters)

Photo of TooGood
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into Pumking chalice. Pours a deep brown with little to no head retention. The smell is wonderful, very pumpkin pie like with nutmeg and slight cinnamon overtones. The taste is similar to the smell until the end, at the finish I get a very strong nutmeg/bitter taste that is quite unappealing. The beer goes down smooth with a slightly thicker mouth feel. Overall an average pumpkin flavored beer, but nothing I would seek out again. The bitter over the top spice notes on the finish are too much for me. (537 characters)

Photo of McNealc31
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Blindfolded, I don't think I would notice a difference in aroma between this and Pumking. But the flavor and texture and definitely different. It's heavier, dryer, and the finish is definitely more stout-like. But those delicious spices that make Pumking outstanding are still there and hold up. There's something almost pop-like to start. Overall, it's a tad more aggressive and the roasted malt certainly comes out.

If I had to choose between Warlock and Pumking for the rest of my life, I'd go with Pumking. But this is a very tasty change of pace. (552 characters)

Photo of JAFoley
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%

A - Dark opaque body with foamy tan head. Very good retention but no lacing to speak of.

S - Dark molasses and the usual cinnamon and nutmeg "pumpkin" spices.

T - Floral hops upfront recede to a wicked medicine flavor. Heavy chocolate sweetness takes over with the cinnamon and spices coming in. Nice alcohol kick.

M - Full body with moderate carbonation. Very thick and sticky.

O - Just can't do pumpkin beers. There's just too much "pumpkin" flavoring, so heavy handed. It comes off artificial and undrinkable to me. I'd love this to be a great stout first, then a pumpkin beer, rather than the other way around. (625 characters)

Photo of logicalparadox
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Looks pretty at first. White head atop a brew that could pass for cola.

Nose is pumpkin and spice. You'd be forgiven for thinking this was Pumking. Doesn't have any aromas that would suggest a stout.

Taste is sweet, upfront, followed by spice. Lots of pumpkn pie spices. Good, but fake tasting. Finish is long and quite sweet and with something strange. Not sure what it is, nor whether I like it.

Body is lighter than expected and lighter than should be for the style.

I'd try this again, but I'm disenchanted to know this has added flavors. Maybe that explains some more f the off character. Also a bit disillusioned about calling this an imperial stout. (662 characters)

Photo of Genuine
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Poured from the bottle black as night, with a slight dark tan head. The head didn't hang around much.

Aroma was astounding - At first very reminiscent of pumpkin with the toasted malts coming through and the warming notes being noticed as well.

Finally found it this year so I had some high expectations of it. I'm glad to report that they were met! The magical aroma of the pumpkin first enchanted my nose a second before taking a taste. The roasted malts with the pumpkin mixed extremely well. The warming notes of the 8.6% helped keep my spirits up on a chilly autumn afternoon.

I wish the beer had a fuller mouthfeel, but regardless the flavors all came through.

Great carbonation - not too much, just right for a stout.

This will be a staple in my fall brews for years to come. What a great pumpkin stout that lives up to it's name. (853 characters)

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%

Poured from the 22 oz bomber into a tulip.
Pours jet black with generous bubbly head that's a lighter color than I expected.
Smells of gingerbread and roasted malt.
Tastes delicious. Generous yet balanced spice of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger.
Finishes nicely, slightly velvety.
All in all, this was a balanced and very tasty beer. Nice! (335 characters)

Photo of zander4dawin
2.72/5  rDev -31.1%

Well, it says this beer is retired and I say that's for the best. You can tell the base stout to this beer is solid, great black appearance, hop balance, and mouthfeel. Where this beer disappointed was the spice boutique, way too much Potpourri taste, harsh and pungent on the taste buds. While I found Pumking to be a classic pumpkin beer Warlock can be skipped. (366 characters)

Warlock from Southern Tier Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.